My name is Prashant and I’m from Delhi. Our family history going back a few generations had some stomach-related cancers. Unfortunately, there was not a lot of written history to determine the exact nature of these cancers.
My sister Mehar used to work here as a physiotherapist in Mumbai many years ago. She called me and said she was having a test, an endoscopic ultrasound, and would I join her? The doctor told us she had a neoplasm on the pancreas and should have looked at it immediately. We went to see a doctor in a different hospital in Mumbai. He looked at the reports and gave us no hope and said it was a terminal situation. It was devastating. Mehar passed a couple of months later.
The same case was with my father as well. And I remember his doctor passing along a comment to me off the cuff. “Get yourself checked out”. I took it pretty seriously.
And soon I and my wife researched the best hospital for the treatment. And thankfully we came across a website called ClinicSpots which gave us detailed information about the hospitals and the best oncologist in India. Through the analysis, my wife recommended a doctor in Mumbai. We were again in Mumbai for the endoscopic ultrasound tests. As we were told at the time, that was a gold standard in early detection for pancreas cancer. And until the 2006 test, everything was fine. And upon awakening from that test, performed by another doctor, I was told he found a tumor on my pancreas. We were shocked as I was asymptomatic. It was like any hit by a freight train. We were stressed, panicky and quite upset. We went home, advised our kids of the test, as many of us do.
The next day, in the hospital, the doctor ordered for the pet scans. And after the tests were completed, we met with him in the office, and he very calmly said to us all. He scheduled my next appointment for the surgery. I was a good candidate for a Whipple procedure at that moment. I know it seems odd but I felt a tremendous sense of relief with the knowledge that I was in the most capable hands. I could be in this particular situation again. Aside from the enormous emotional and mental stress that we felt physically, I felt great.
About a week later, I got a call from my doctor. One evening, he advised me that after the weekly meeting he had with his colleagues, they felt a better course was a complete pancreas in place of Whipple procedure. The reason obviously, was based on my family history. If I had a Whipple, there was probably a chance that it would return in later days.
My family and I met the doctor, the morning of the surgery it was October 17th, 2014. Kind of remember that day pretty well. They introduced me to the anesthesiologist do in my case. And after eight hours of surgery, with some fewer organs, I started with, I awoke, surrounded by my family and doctor. All went well, and we were good to go. I was in the hospital for about eight or ten days. Remarkable with the doctor and his young team of dedicated doctors all visiting very early daily. And truthfully, a stay in the hospital is never a great time unless, as my wife says, you leave with the baby. I made a difficult time less trying and less anxiety-producing. I went home with a couple of drains and a much lighter person than when I arrived.
We went back to see the doctor a couple of weeks later, and he informed us that the surgery went well. He believed all cancer had been removed. Margins were good. However, there were some metastases in the lymph nodes. And for that, he recommended chemotherapy and perhaps radiation as well. But that was going to be determined by the oncologist who would be performing that.
In a few days, the appointment for radiation therapy and chemotherapy was scheduled. Soon the procedure began. I was informed beforehand that I will lose my strength during the procedure but will regain it by the passing time. And the doctor was right, after the procedure, I regained my strength eventually. The therapies were done in an interval of 3 months, 4 months, 6 months and then once in year.
As of now, thankfully, no reoccurrence is observed. This was possible only because of the support of my family and the great work of the involved oncologists and their team members. From my experience I would say that it’s always a good approach to go for a regular check-up, especially when you have a family history or even if you don’t have any family history.
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